f_ck it

In inflation-adjusted wages, male college graduates had starting salaries of $20.61/hour in 1979 and $21.68/hour in 2011, while female college graduates had starting salaries of $16.30/hour in 1979 and $18.80/hour in 2011.  That’s less than a 5% increase for men, and a bit more than a 10% increase for women. http://stateofworkingamerica.o…

Meanwhile the average college tuition climbed 650% over inflation between 1978 and 2010. http://nplusonemag.com/bad-edu… The results are as depressing as they are predictable.  Barely half of all student loans are even in repayment at the moment, with the rest being in deferral or forbearance.  Of those student loans that have entered repayment, about 1 in 3 (31%) are currently delinquent (>90 days late), according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.  That is approaching the peak level of subprime mortgage delinquencies during the housing crash in 2008.

Aggregate student loan debt has virtually exploded over the last fifteen years, from $200 billion in 2000 to $440 billion around the time Obama was elected (4Q 2008) to $1.2 trillion today.  Throw that on a graph, and you’ll get the ominous hockey stick-shaped line that foretells nearly every economic crash.  Various analyses have tied this surging debt to the stall in the housing market – indeed, 25-34 years with student debt are less likely to be homeowners than their peers without student loan debt for the first time in history – to stalling auto sales (per GM’s chief economist), household formations, and to plummeting levels of retirement savings among the Millennial cohort.

Moreover, the stagnant wages afforded by the *college premium* have driven unprecedented numbers into graduate school, despite the author’s assertion otherwise, and federal data analyzed by the Washington Post last spring revealed that the number of graduate degrees awarded by American universities has increased 63% just since 2000.  Regular readers of this website and/or Inside Higher Ed will have no problem connecting that growth to the current job and debt crises in our nation’s law schools, graduate humanities and natural science programs, veterinary schools, and nonelite MBA programs.

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